The Patient season 1, episode 3 recap – “Issues”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: September 6, 2022 (Last updated: March 8, 2023)
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The Patient season 1, episode 3 recap - "Issues"


“Issues” unveils some new details and alters the dynamic somewhat, but it’s a last-minute development that’ll really keep audiences engaged.

This recap of The Patient season 1, episode 3, “Issues”, contains spoilers.

Let’s start with the obvious — “Issues” doesn’t waste any time revealing who that was coming down the stairs at the end of the previous episode, so why should we? And, as predicted, it was Sam’s mother, Candace, who is not only aware of Sam’s crimes — or his kidnapping of Alan, at least — but was also the person who actively pushed him to pursue real therapy in the first place. She’s clear about not supporting her son in his endeavors, but she also can’t turn him in; not her own flesh and blood, not when the two of them have been through so much together.

Blimey, that title is starting to feel very fitting, isn’t it?

The Patient season 1, episode 3 recap

This new revelation at least gives Alan a line of questioning. Sam lied about his parents being dead, and Candace letting slip that his father left means that he might have lied about the abuse too, but he claims that was true, it simply stopped when he was 14 when his father left. Incidentally, Sam’s line about being confused about what his father meant when he demanded he “break down” boxes of grout seems so specific that I strongly suspect it’s a real memory of someone who experienced it.

Alan is playing the game, of course, but his continuing visions of stabbing Sam repeatedly in the neck lend a darker contour to his suggestions that Sam releases him from his chains so that he can help him more effectively. But at the same time, he does seem to be making an earnest effort to help him, roping his new discovery about Candace into the therapy. Alan suggests that she actively participates and that Sam works through his violent impulses by reminding himself that not succumbing to them is a means of protecting his mother — something he has been doing since childhood.

Does it work? Well, kind of. Sam comes back the next night and says he went back to the restaurant and eyeballed the manager he not-so-secretly wants to kill, then went and sat in his car and thought about doing it, but never actually did. I suppose that’s progress of a kind. It also reveals something important to Alan. Sam wants the manager to be taught a lesson about how to treat people. When Alan pushes him on this, Sam confirms that he has felt the same way about all his victims — they all, in his mind, deserved it.

As “Issues” ends, Sam arrives home and interrupts Alan’s flashbacks by dragging a captive man into the house and locking him in another room. Perhaps he isn’t listening after all.

You can stream The Patient season 1, episode 3, “Issues”, exclusively on Hulu.

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